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SUBHASHCHANDRA BOSE [1897 - ?

] Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose ,a great patriot and organiser of the Indian National Army, was born at Cuttack (in present day Orissa), India, on January 23, 1897 as the ninth child among fourteen, of Janakinath Bose, an advocate, and Prabhavatidevi, a pious and God-fearing lady. A brilliant student, he topped the matriculation examination of Calcutta province and passed his B.A. in Philosophy from the Presidency College in Calcutta. He was strongly influenced by Swami Vivekananda's teachings and was known for his patriotic zeal as a student. His parents' wishes kept him away from the Indian freedom struggle and led him into studies for the Indian Civil Service in England. Although he finished those examinations also at the top of his class (4th), he could not complete his aprecentship and returned to India, being deeply disturbed by the Jallianwalla Bagh massacre. He came under the influence of Mahatma Gandhi and joined the Indian National Congress (a.k.a. Congress). Gandhiji directed him to work with Deshbandhu Chittaranjan Das, the Bengali leader whom Bose acknowledged as his political guru. He passed the I.C.S. Examination but did not join service. On his return to India, he joined the Congress and devoted himself to the service of his motherland. He was several times sent to jail. In 1930 he was elected Mayor of Calcutta. In 1938 he was elected President of the Congress. He sought re-election and was selected again. At this, differences arose between Gandhiji and Bose, and the latter formed a new party within the congress - The Forward Block. In 1941, he was interned in his home, but he so cleverly made his escape that the British Government could not trace him. Reaching Malaya, he organised the Indian National Army with the help of the Japanese. He is said to have lost his life in an aeroplane crash in 1945. Subhash Chandra Bose was a first rate orator and a fiery youth leader who could captivate his audiences. Subhash Babu will go down in history as a hero. He was one of the greatest freedom fighters of India and the "Pride of Bengal". While the Gandhi /Nehru Congress has garnered much of the credit for India's freedom struggle, it is important to remember that India's freedom movement was in fact a movement of the masses and there were a number of great leaders with fierce patriotism and great visionary ideas who sacrificed their entire lives for the nation's cause. We continue our series on the freedom fighters, on the occasion of Netaji's 102nd birthday. Known as Netaji (leader), Mr. Bose was a fierce and popular leader in the political scene in pre-independence India . He was the president of the Indian National Congress in 1937 and 1939, and founded a nationalist force called the Indian National Army. He was acclaimed as a semigod, akin to the many mythological heroes like Rama or Krishna, and continues as a legend in Indian mind.

Bose was outspoken in his anti-British stance and was jailed 11 (eleven) times between 1920 and 1941 for periods varying between six months and three years. He was the leader of the youth wing of the Congress Party, in the forefront of the trade union movement in India and organized Service League, another wing of Congress. He was admired for his great skills in organization development . The Influence of Bose Bose advocated complete freedom for India at the earliest, whereas the Congress Committee wanted it in phases, through a Dominion status. Other younger leaders including Jawaharlal Nehru supported Bose and finally at the historic Lahore Congress convention, the Congress had to adopt Poorna Swaraj (complete freedom) as its motto. Bhagat Singh's martyrdom and the inability of the Congress leaders to save his life infuriated Bose and he started a movement opposing the Gandhi-Irvin Peace Pact. He was imprisoned and expelled from India. But defying the ban, he came back to India and was imprisoned again! Clouds of World War II were gathering fast and Bose warned the Indian people and the British against dragging India into the war and the material losses she could incur. He was elected president of the Indian National Congress twice in 1937 and in 1939, the second time defeating Gandhiji's nominee. He brought a resolution to give the British six months to hand India over to the Indians, failing which there would be a revolt. There was much opposition to his rigid stand, and he resigned from the post of president and formed a progressive group known as the Forward Block (1939). The second World War broke out in September of 1939, and just as predicted by Bose, India was declared as a warring state (on behalf of the British) by the Governor General, without consulting Indian leaders. The Congress party was in power in seven major states and all state governments resigned in protest. Subhas Chandra Bose now started a mass movement against utilizing Indian resources and men for the great war. To him, it made no sense to further bleed poor Indians for the sake of colonial and imperial nations. There was a tremendous response to his call and the British promptly imprisoned him . He took to a hunger-strike, and after his health deteriorated on the 11th day of fasting, he was freed and was placed under house arrest. The British were afraid of violent reactions in India, should something happen to Bose in prison. The Mystery Begins... Bose suddenly disappeared in the beginning of 1941 and it was not until many days that authorities realized Bose was not inside the house they were guarding! He traveled by foot, car and train and resurfaced in Kabul (now in Afghanistan), only to disappear once again. In November 1941, his broadcast from German radio sent shock waves among the British and electrified the Indian masses who realized that their leader was working on a master plan to free their motherland. It also gave fresh confidence

to the revolutionaries in India who were challenging the British in many ways. The Axis powers (mainly Germany) assured Bose military and other help to fight the British. Japan by this time had grown into another strong world power, occupying key colonies of Dutch, French, and British colonies in Asia. Bose had struck alliance with Germany and Japan. He rightly felt that his presence in the East would help his countrymen in freedom struggle and second phase of his saga began. It is told that he was last seen on land near Keil canal in Germany, in the beginning of 1943. A most hazardous journey was undertaken by him under water, covering thousands of miles, crossing enemy territories. He was in the Atlantic, the Middle East, Madagascar and the Indian ocean. Battles were being fought over land, in the air and there were mines in the sea. At one stage he traveled 400 miles in a rubber dingy to reach a Japanese submarine, which took him to Tokyo. He was warmly received in Japan and was declared the head of the Indian army, which consisted of about 40,000 soldiers from Singapore and other eastern regions. Bose called it the Indian National Army (INA) and a government by the name "Azad Hind Government" was declared on the 21st of October 1943. INA freed the Andaman and Nicobar islands from the British and were renamed as Swaraj and Shaheed islands. The Government started functioning. Early Success and Tragic End Bose wanted to free India from the Eastern front. He had taken care that Japanese interference was not present from any angle. Army leadership, administration and communications were managed by Indians only. Subhash Brigade, Azad Brigade and Gandhi Brigade were formed. INA marched through Burma and occupied Coxtown on the Indian Border. A touching scene ensued when the solders entered their 'free' motherland. Some lay down and kissed, some placed pieces of mother earth on their heads, others wept. They were now inside of India and were determined to drive out the British! Delhi Chalo (Let's march to Delhi) was the war cry. The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki changed the history of mankind. Japan had to surrender. Bose was in Singapore at that time and decided to go to Tokyo for his next course of action. Unfortunately, the plane he boarded crashed near Taipei and he died in the hospital of severe burns. He was just 48. The Indian people were so much enamored of Bose's oratory and leadership qualities, fealressness and mysterious adventures, that he had become a legend. They refused to believe that he died in the plane crash. The famous Red Fort trial wherein Bose's generals and the INA officers were tried, became landmark events. Initially, the British Government thought of a court-martial, but there was a countrywide protest against any kind of punishment. For common Indians, Axis and Allied powers hardly mattered, but they could not tolerate punishment of fellow countrymen who were fighting for freedom. The British Government was in no position to face open rebellion or mutiny and a general amnesty for INA soldiers was declared.

While Bose's approach to Indian freedom continues to generate heated debate in the Indian society today, there is no denying of his burning patriotism, his tireless efforts to free India from inside and outside and his reckless adventures in trying to reach his goals. His exploits later became a legend due to the many stories carried by the disbanded INA soldiers who came from every nook and corner of our great country. Had he lived, Subhas Chandra Bose could have given a new turn to Independent India's political history. But he lives on eternally in the Indian mind, more famous after his death. Presidential address at the Maharastra Provincial Conference, Poona. May 3, 1928 Before I proceed to place before you my view with regard to our present policy and program, I would like to raise some fundamental problems and attempt to answer them. It is sometimes urged by foreigners that the new awakening in India is entirely an exotic product inspired by alien ideals and methods. This is by no means true. I do not for one moment dispute the fact that the impact of the West has helped to rouse us from intellectual and mental torpor. But that impact has restored self consciousness to our people, and the movement that has resulted therefrom and which we witness today is a genuine Swadeshi movement. India has long passed through the traditional period of blind imitation of reflex action, if you put it in psychological language. She has now recovered her own soul and is busy restructuring her national movement along national lines and in the light of national ideals. I agree with Sir Flinders Petrie that civilizations, like individuals grow and die in a cyclic fashion and that each civilization has a certain span of life vouchsafed to it. I also agree with him that, under certain conditions, it is possible for a particular civilization to be reborn after it has spent itself. When this rebirth is to take place, the vital impetus, the elan vital, comes not from without but from within. In this manner has Indian civilization been reborn over and over again at the end of each cycle, and that is why India in spite of her hoary antiquity is still young and fresh. The charge has often been levelled against us that since democracy is an Occidental institution, India, by accepting democratic or semi-democratic institutions, is being Westernised. .Ignorance and effrontery could not go further. Democracy is by no means a Western institution; it is a human institution. Whenever man has attempted to evolve political institutions, he has hit upon this wonderful institution of democracy. The past history of India is replete with instances of democratic institutions The principle of democracy was also applied in India in the government of villages and towns. With regard to village Self-Government, it is not necessary to remind an Indian audience about the village Panchayats democratic institutions handed down to us from days of yore. Not only democratic but other sociopolitical doctrines of an advanced character were not unknown to India in the past. I think it necessary at this stage to warn my countrymen, and my young friends in particular, about the attack that is being made on nationalism

from more than one quarter. From the point of view of cultural internationalism, nationalism is sometimes assailed as narrow, selfish and aggressive. It is also regarded as a hindrance to the promotion of internationalism in the domain of culture. My reply to the charge is that Indian nationalism is neither narrow, nor selfish, nor aggressive. Another attack is being made on nationalism from the point of view of international labor or international Communism. This attack is not only ill-advised but unconsciously serves the interests of our alien rulers. It would be clear to the man in the street that before we can endeavor to reconstruct Indian society on a new basis, whether socialistic or otherwise, we should first secure the right to shape our own destiny. As long as India lies prostrate at the feet of Britain, that right will be denied to us. It is, therefore, the paramount duty not only of nationalists but anti-nationalist Communists to bring about the political emancipation of India as early as possible. Friends, you will pardon me if for one moment I ask you to lift your eyes from the realities of the present and attempt to scan the future that looms before us. It is desirable that we should search our hearts in order to find out what it is that we are running after, so that we and our succeeding generations may grow up in the light of that ideal and shape our course of action accordingly. Speaking for myself, I stand for an independent Federal Republic. That is the ultimate goal which I have before me. India must fulfill her own destiny and cannot be content with colonial self-government or Dominion Home Rule. Why must we remain within the British Empire ? India is rich in resources, human and material. She has outgrown the infancy which foreigners have been thrusting upon her, and can not only take care of herself but can function as an independent unit. India is not Canada or Australia or South Africa. Indians are an Oriental people, a colored race, and there is nothing in common between India and Great Britain from which we may be led to think that Dominion Home Rule within the British Empire is desirable consummation for India. Rather, India stands to lose by remaining within the Empire. Having been under British domination for so long, it may be difficult for Indians to get rid of the inferiority complex in their relations with England. It may also be difficult to resist British exploitation so long as we remain an integral part of the British Empire."

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